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Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

 

 ‘Down by the Salley Gardens’ by William Butler Yeats

 

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

 

‘Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley

They who thought Psyche fair,

Come hither and see her put to shame,

For my love’s smile is the morning sun,

And beauty is her name.

 

Love is in her eyes,

Hair only wind can tame.

The inky sky penned in ode to her,

Would all be but in vain.

 

Cherubs come from Olympus flying,

For the women there are plain,

Their wings burn away unnoticed,

Her sight overcomes all pain.

 

Laughing and blushing and smiling oh so,

The skipping of my heart her pretty game,

Her eyes like cupids arrows,

At a heart relentlessly aimed,

 

That i am played on unthinkingly,

Gives me little share of the blame,

The wonders that I see in them,

A mere oracle cannot explain.

 

Salman Shahid Khan

That light dances across your eyes,
That shrewd assassin in disguise,
Finds its trap already sprung.

To one accustomed to the dark,
As your eyes produce that spark,
It seems like the glaring sun.

It moves my very soul about,
As I catch your dreams fluttering out,
and sucks me into a reverie.

I then dream of much wished-for things
Of love that lifts, yet burns and stings,
Imprisons the heart, sets souls free.

Such longed-for confusion your laughter brings,
Every smile like a poisoned arrow springs,
Carrying Sorrow with its Delight.

My wishes will bring me to tears,
I too have now loved what disappears,
My bright day will soon, again, be night.

Salman Shahid Khan

O cloud-pale eyelids, dream-dimmed eyes,
The poets labouring all their days
To build a perfect beauty in rhyme
Are overthrown by a woman’s gaze

And by the unlabouring brood of the skies:
And therefore my heart will bow, when dew
Is dropping sleep, until God burn time,
Before the unlabouring stars and you.

“He Tells of the Perfect Beauty” by William Butler Yeats

 

Heed the heralds!
Behold! They approach!
The chosen! The kings!
The ones beyond reproach!

Their unparalleled thirst!
Look how they live!
They drink the blood
That we so willingly give!

They fumble around blind
and we follow their trails.
We measure our worth
In their addled set of scales!

Behold our servants,
The rulers of our lands!
Behold their smiles,
and their blood soaked hands!

19th of July, 2012
Salman Shahid Khan

 

He trudged on in the snow-white fields,
Till his stick splintered and his shoes broke,
Despairing, he thought he was lost,
And then he heard the whirling of her cloak,

Illuminated in a flash of lightning,
Like a fleeting, surreal dream,
That came and was gone in a blink of the eye,
The hues of red so briefly seen.

Moonbeams curled and they softly fell,
on a silent figure in the snow,
Two eyes that lit a fire in him,
Alive, he felt his courage grow.

Two eyes that had the stars in them,
Her waving hair beckoning,
A lingering smile on her face,
lips that would be his reckoning.

The mayfly that sees the eternal moon,
Enamoured, looks only its way
Though its life starts and ends unseen,
as night turns cruelly to day.

The moon may belong to the sky,
And be by bright stars surrounded,
But its rays make the world look bright,
when the mayfly’s eyes have found it.

But without a word, in a whirl of red,
She turned, vanished in the dark.
He fumbled blindly, madly for her,
Found no footprint, not a mark.

A flake of snow on a burning face,
Pacifying but momentarily,
A sweet scent lost to a blowing wind,
satisfying but temporarily

Salman Shahid Khan

August, 2011